My husband and I left the country for the first time since 2016 and holy smokes did it feel good to spend 5 days in Mexico City! First off, I read as many blogs as I could and I went to a few suggested restaurants/cafes and I need you to know that these suggestions below are for those aged 40+. I hate to say it, but I do believe the 20 year olds and 40 year olds spend their 5 days in Mexico City in different ways. I learned some of this the hard way, and so, below is a recap of what we suggest.
Side note, Mexico City is filled with culture, beauty, vivid colors, kind people, and incredible history. Yes, it’s sinking – but not as much as the bloggers will tell you (we’ve watched many a YouTube and read many a blog that mentioned it’s sinking 20″ a year. Nope – it’s closer to 2 centimeters a year, fact checked from an archaeologist living in Mexico City). The city is a yin/yang of everything you can imagine, and I personally think no matter what you’re into, you’ll love it.
Now, dig in!
Where to Stay for Your 5 Days in Mexico City
For our 5 days in Mexico City, we stayed at the incredible Casa Mali by Dominion Hotel in Condesa. It overlooks Parque Mexico so not only will you have great views, you’ll also get a gorgeous walk every evening if you so wish. The park has people in it close to 24-hours a day. It’s a joy, filled with dogs, kids, lovers, and so many activities: walking, riding bikes, skateboarding, playing futbol, playing catch with said dogs, etc.
The hotel had every amenity you’d want, including a washer/dryer and a separate living/dining room from the bedroom. It was a former apartment complex, so the rooms are incredibly spacious and were beautifully redesigned. Staying in Condesa was preferred to us over Roma and Polanco for many reasons. First off, many of the other properties in Condesa felt too hipster-y for my taste, and same with Roma. Polanco felt too wealthy/uppity and although it has a lot to offer, it wasn’t close to as cute as Condesa in my opinion. We felt safe and went walking past dark every night. Oh how I wish I lived in a walking city!
Hot tip! Call Casa Mali the day before you arrive and they’ll send you a driver at the airport for only $75 US dollars (at the time of this writing) and you may scoff at this – however – when you land, you’ll be confused and maybe overwhelmed and it’s SO nice to see a driver with your name on a sign. Ours was at gate 8 so walk over there if you have a hard time locating yours.
Hot tip #2! Download a white noise app on your phone before you leave and make sure you like it – test it at home – as the street noise all over Mexico City is kinda loud and no one likes to be awakened at 3 a.m.
Where to Eat for Your 5 Days in Mexico City
Now, on to the part I love the most: the food! And I need to preference something for you: I’ve stopped asking restaurants to cater to my vegan preference. First off, I hate to be that girl who is so damn picky about what she eats. We all know that person, and they are no fun. Secondly, a lot of the nicer restaurants simply will not cater to full vegans, and I totally get why. And yes, I could avoid them, however, some I realllly want to go to anyway. So, I eat fully vegan at home and if there’s a vegan option on the menu when I’m out, I grab it. Otherwise, I’ll choose the vegetarian option.
This works in the U.S. very well. It was a bit harder in Mexico City, although there are SO many fully vegan restaurants there. I mean, simply tons to choose from. However, my husband is not vegan, and sometimes I want to go somewhere fancy, so eating vegan was difficult. Which brings me to…
The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Mexico City
We spent our 5 days in Mexico City at a sampling of cafes, restaurants, fine dining, and dessert shops. Here’s my three favorite restaurants, all in walking distance from Casa Mali by Dominion:
Merotoro – we loved it so much we went back our last night, partly because the dining room is stunning, partly because they had vegetarian options on the menu, and partly because it was incredibly close to the hotel. The bread, olive oil, and salt alone I could have eaten as my main meal. The eggplant dish was fantastic, and the cauliflower dish was great, too. They will hold the cheese easily, however, I am not sure if they were made with butter, so cannot say for certain if they were vegan. They have a great Mexican and Spanish wine selection and Mezcal options, too.
Ometusco – also a gorgeous dining room but we were the only ones there… it might have just been an off night as the food was fantastic. They had a roasted veggie appetizer that was incredible, and a vegetarian risotto that was to die for. They do not carry wine so we both got mixed drinks, and neither of us loved them, however we might have just ordered the wrong thing. The same with Merotoro (and it looked like everywhere), the dining room is open to the street so it was fun to sit and watch all the people walk by.
Takotl – this is a great place to stop for lunch and they have a vegan section to their menu filled with tacos and an oatmeal burger, which is what I had. It was good, not great, but filling and nice to eat something fully vegan!
The Best Place for Breakfast in Mexico City
Maque – we finally stopped by Maque on our last day and oh my goodness how I wish we would have done it earlier. This is such a cute corner restaurant, again super close to our hotel, with adorable street-side tables and delicious hot cakes. They start your breakfast out with a bowl of fresh fruit, and their coffee is great, and they have conchas, my new favorite thing on earth! Which brings me to….
The Best Dessert Shop in Mexico City Has Vegan Options!
Tomasa – OK I just now found out they have a shop in Condesa but we went to the one in Polanco and oh my god you guys RUN there when you land. I had never had a concha before (and I freaking live in Texas y’all, they are everywhere here!!) and if you have not had one either, you can please thank me later. GO TO TOMASA’S and get the vegan vanilla concha and be the happiest person on earth. And take lots of pics because yes every other eatery in Mexico City is freaking adorbs but this one might just be the most adorbs. You should go on day 1 and then go on every other one of your 5 days in Mexico City. Go. Now!
The Best Coffee Shop in Mexico City
We ended up with one that we enjoyed and a handful that were too hipstery (Quentin) or felt too grungy (Cardinal) or just didn’t taste amazing (a handful that are fine and you may love so I will not mention). Our favorite was…
Tierra Garat – it’s a chain in Mexico City, but it’s gorgeous (so much Saltillo tile I mean just swoon), and the Americanos were fantastic and the one in Condesa is the best place to people watch!
And Now… What to Do During Your 5 Days in Mexico City
Well, if you stay in Condesa, you will want to spend at least a morning or evening walking around the parks and the neighborhood and simply admiring all the gorgeous buildings, plants, trees, and people! Every street has cafes so there’s plenty of places to sit and eat or drink and watch the world go by. It’s so gorgeous and so peaceful. I am obsessed with bookstores and really enjoyed one morning just wandering around Cafebreria el Pendulo, which also has a coffee bar and restaurant and now I want to create one in the U.S. I loved it there.
We spent one full day walking to Centro (it’s a 3+ mile walk but you go through so many great parts of town and if you like to walk, I highly recommend it). To get back, get an Uber – we tried bother Ubers and taxis in Mexico City and the Ubers won, hands down. There are so many museums and things to do in Centro, however what we wanted to see the most was Templo Mayor, so that’s what we did, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
If you don’t know, Templo Mayor was the original Mexico City that the Spaniards destroyed and covered up in the 1500s with various other buildings. Fast-forward to the 1930s and part of the ruins were discovered, but no one became interested until a pre-Hispanic stone disc was discovered in the 1970s. And now, you can see what all was discovered there, and they are still finding more treasures and I’m certain some treasures will never get discovered, at least not in our lifetime, with the extent of buildings covering the old temple.
If you’re into ruins, this was an awesome way to spend a day, and the museum was fantastic (and has the stone disc in it which is so freaking cool). Also, there’s a restaurant that overlooks the ruins called El Mayor which apparently is delicious but they were closed when we arrived so we went to their cafe which also had fantastic views, but the food was just OK. However, the views definitely made up for it.
You could spend your entire day (and another, and probably another) going to all the museums and look-outs in Centro. Templo Mayor was all we were interested in, however there’s truly so much to visit and take in.
Teotihuacan was the main reason we picked a trip to Mexico City. I’ve been wanting to see ruins for so dang long and finally – finally! – was able to. Teotihuacan did not disappoint! We hired a private tour guide through Viator and our guide, Fermin, was an archaeologist and filled with fantastic details about the former city and temples. I cannot recommend him enough! The tour and entire day was awesome and will be memories we cherish for the rest of our lives. We could have easily added on a tequila tasting or obsidian tour, but I got sick the night before and wasn’t up for a full-day outing. However, Teotihuacan was incredible, worth every penny and then some. If you have 5 days in Mexico City, most definitely book a day in Teotihuacan!
Walk through Chapultepec Park and the Anthropology Museum
Bigger than Central Park, Chapultepec has a castle, the anthropology museum, a lake, restaurant, and so much more. I was so excited to get to spend a full day here, and when the day came, neither of us were into it. I don’t know if we were in the wrong section of the park, but all the vendors got to us (they swarmed Teotihuacan, too), the castle was disappointing in my opinion (if you like paintings of Spanish conquistadors you may dig it), and by the time we found the entrance to the anthropology museum (don’t ask), we just wanted a nap. So, after a fairly quick visit in the museum, we ended our day in the park short before eating lunch and ended up walking to Polanco for a brief visit (I had made reservations at Lago Algo in the park and it came with super high marks so please go for me and tell me what you think).
I can’t emphasize how enjoyable it is to simply WALK especially if you live in a city that is car-dependent, like me. The people watching, dog watching, cafe-hopping, beauty-seeing, nature-enjoying cannot be beat in Mexico City. I hope you enjoyed the recap from our short visit and I hope you take the time to make your own adventure to Mexico City!